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Intelligent Driver Mental State Monitoring System Using Physiological Sensor Signals


Publication Type:

Licentiate Thesis


Driving a vehicle involves a series of events, which are related to and evolve with the mental state (such as sleepiness, mental load, and stress) of the driver. These states are also identified as causal factors of critical situations that can lead to road accidents and vehicle crashes. These driver impairments need to be detected and predicted in order to reduce critical situations and road accidents. In the past years, physiological signals have become conventional measures in driver impairment research. Physiological signals have been applied in various studies to identify different levels of mental load, sleepiness, and stress during driving. This licentiate thesis work has investigated several artificial intelligence algorithms for developing an intelligent system to monitor driver mental state using physiological signals. The research aims to measure sleepiness and mental load using Electroencephalography (EEG). EEG signals, if processed correctly and efficiently, have potential to facilitate advanced monitoring of sleepiness, mental load, fatigue, stress etc. However, EEG signals can be contaminated with unwanted signals, i.e., artifacts. These artifacts can lead to serious misinterpretation. Therefore, this work investigates EEG artifact handling methods and propose an automated approach for EEG artifact handling. Furthermore, this research has also investigated how several other physiological parameters (Heart Rate (HR) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) from the Electrocardiogram (ECG), Respiration Rate, Finger Temperature (FT), and Skin Conductance (SC)) to quantify drivers’ stress. Different signal processing methods have been investigated to extract features from these physiological signals. These features have been extracted in the time domain, in the frequency domain as well as in the joint time-frequency domain using wavelet analysis. Furthermore, data level signal fusion has been proposed using Multivariate Multiscale Entropy (MMSE) analysis by combining five physiological sensor signals. Primarily Case-Based Reason- ing (CBR) has been applied for drivers’ mental state classification, but other Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as Fuzzy Logic, Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Artificial Neural Network (ANN) have been investigated as well. For drivers’ stress classification, using the CBR and MMSE approach, the system has achieved 83.33% classification accuracy compared to a human expert. Moreover, three classification algorithms i.e., CBR, an ANN, and a SVM were compared to classify drivers’ stress. The results show that CBR has achieved 80% and 86% accuracy to classify stress using finger temperature and heart rate variability respectively, while ANN and SVM reached an accuracy of less than 80%.


author = {Shaibal Barua},
title = {Intelligent Driver Mental State Monitoring System Using Physiological Sensor Signals},
month = {October},
year = {2015},
url = {}